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LESSON: Why Asking Your Kid to Give 110% Is Wrong
Gloria and her daughter Jenny were in the process of hiring a new full-time private coach. Like cartons of milk, often coaches have expiration dates. They all have a bag of developmental tricks and once you’ve heard them over and over again and your growth has stalled, it may be time to move on.
During our phone consultation, Gloria mentioned their current coach was stuck on the singular, component of perfect fundamentals. His motto was “Get your fundamentals down 110% and that alone will be enough to take home the gold.” Gloria said, “The problem is that Jenny can perform brilliantly in practice, but comes unglued in real events.”
I completely understood and let Gloria know that Jenny is suffering from a very common and curable poor developmental plan. Although Jenny could be 110% fundamentally perfect in practice, real competition introduces additional physical, mental and emotional forces resulting in performance anxieties.
Gloria agreed that Jenny gets extremely nervous and fearful before competition. As we talked, she shared that Jenny’s over arousal leads to overthinking, tight muscle contractions, less fluid movements, hesitations and silly routine mistakes that do not exist in practice. I asked Gloria to begin talking to Jenny about changing her attempts to be 110% perfect with simply trying to be only 90% excellent. This will allow Jenny to accept tiny performance flaws and quickly move on. Knowing that you don’t need to be perfect every day and can still be a champion is very de-stressing.
Focusing on excellent performances allows you to leave perfection behind. Asking a child to be 110% (better than perfect every time) seems rather silly and unattainable, doesn’t it? In essence, her old coach had great intentions but was actually psychologically setting Jenny up for consistent failure. With that in mind, Gloria began to look for a mental and emotional expert coach to assist Jenny with the next stage in her career.
Remember parents, performers and athletes should seek consistent excellent performances, not consistent perfect performances.
“Game day performance logs are an excellent way to identify strengths and weaknesses.”